President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said he had directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to ensure a timely release of the proposed N2.3 trillion for the implementation of economic sustainability plan (ESP) as well as funds for capital projects.
The president, at the end of a two-day “First-Year Ministerial Retreat,” yesterday in Abuja, said he had done his best for the country within the available limited resources and urged the elite to judge his administration with fairness.
He also said his administration has made progress in all fronts and charged his cabinet members to be alive to their responsibilities.
He demanded optimum performance from them so his administration could make Nigeria better for the people.
The president, who said his government had recorded some achievements, urged ministers and heads of agencies to “go on the offensive” to defend them.
Buhari also narrated his experience with the United States President, Mr. Donald Trump, when the American leader once asked him why he was killing Christians.
He said though he was pained by the allegation, he took his time to explain to his US counterpart that the killings of Christians in Nigeria “has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion.”
Buhari said all he wanted was a result of not only the ministers, but also from permanent secretaries and heads of parastatals.
He added that he was looking forward to a result-oriented second year in office that would bring about the desired change in the lives of the people.
“I hereby charge the ministers, permanent secretaries and all heads of parastatals to be continuously conscious of their commitment and responsibilities. On behalf of the people of Nigeria, I demand the utmost levels of performance, deliverables and results. I look forward to a result-oriented year with tremendous benefits that will continue to change the lives of our people positively,” he stated.
According to him, ministers are to ensure that released funds are prudently and transparently utilised for the purposes they are allocated in accordance with the federal government’s priorities.
He said: “I have directed the minister of finance, budget and national planning, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and all other responsible agencies to ensure speedy and timely release of funds to MDAs for implementation of the N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan and the capital projects in the 2020 budget.
“I also enjoined ministers to ensure that funds released are utilised efficiently and transparently in implementing the programmes and projects under the line priority areas of government.”
He warned that bickering among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) would no longer be tolerated and directed a reactivation of the coordination delivery unit in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to monitor their activities and performances.
He directed government officials to go on the offensive in the defence of the activities of government to guard against what he described as the spread of falsehood against the government.
According to him, information should be well packaged and government functionaries should deliver it.
He added that matters relating to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) should be directed to the SGF, while ministerial requests for meetings with him should be sought through the chief of staff.
“The days of insufficient collaboration, coordination and synergy among implementing ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should be over. In this regard, I have directed that essential coordination delivery unit in the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation should be revived to ensure we focus on results. The SGF is to ensure regular reports on progress submitted.
“I have charged all of you to defend the government vigorously and not allow any irresponsible and politically motivated statements to keep spreading falsehoods about this government.
“Information to the public should be better packaged, go on the offensive. We are proud of our achievements and we should blow our own trumpets. Let me also reiterate that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests should be channelled through the chief of staff, while all Federal Executive Council (FEC) matters should be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the federation,” he said.